Casting new open valve blocks!!

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Casting new open valve blocks!!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 10:55 am:

This talk of open valve block prices does make me think. As I'm sure most of you are aware, I have a set of T block patterns for my 5 main project. That project is now officially DONE!! I started with a '26-7 block AND a copy of the Ford drawings
However the patterns could be adapted to cast open valve blocks!
The water jacket and cylinder and porting core boxes could very likely be used as they are . The left side of the block could also likely be used as it is (okay remove the serial number location and get rid of the made in Canada). The right side would of course need some changes. The front and rear core boxes would need to be modified. Still WAY easier than starting from scratch.
Currently it costs about $1,000-1,500.00 to cast a new block (not counting pattern amortization). My best guess is it would cost between 5-10,000 to get the patterns perfect. Would need to borrow a sample block (it could be busted as long as a person could get all the special details, it would be OK).
So if a run of at least 10 blocks (20 would be better) could be done for a fair cost. Machining of course extra. Again I have machining drawings copied from Ford drawings.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mario Brossard on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:02 am:

Hi Les,

Can you post some pictures? I would like to keep the made in Canada if possible.

Kind regards,


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:10 am:

Mario
Sorry I'm confused? Ford never cast made in Canada open valve blocks.
What I have are 5 main '26-7 blocks. There is exactly ONE semi-machined one available.
The open valve blocks would be a new project. So my pictures wouldn't tell you much.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:12 am:

Mario
Nice looking car in your profile!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mario Brossard on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:25 am:

Thank you Les,

Yes I know no Cast made in Canada were made for open valve engine.

I am working to restore the last 5 years a 1911 Canadian touring Ford Model T. I rebuild everything by my own except carburetor which Uncle Stan is way better than me on this. Everything is accurate like rear & front axle etc. except the Engine is 1926 casting made in Canada. I'm still looking for 1911 engine but the price killing me... I went to the church every Sunday and pray finding one at reasonable price. I still believe it, maybe your project could be an interesting solution in the future. Keep in touch.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nicholas Lingg - Tarboro, NC on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 12:29 pm:

Was't this already done for water pump blocks back 20 / 30 years ago? Also along these same lines I think there are patterns for 12 rivet rear ends.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 01:51 pm:

Les,

While I know you're a perfectionist, as shown by your excellent workmanship, I would suggest not making an open valve block "perfect". In other words, please leave some small evidence that they are reproduction blocks to help eliminate confusion, honest mistakes and/or outright deceit by future sellers and owners. Just a suggestion.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Strickling on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 02:06 pm:

I always appreciate when someone is willing to step up and fill a need for the hobby.BUT<<<<<

I hope they are marked somehow to indicate they are reproductions. I own an open valve car and don't want to see a bunch of duplicates made up to devalue the real cars that still exist. Reproductions can often ruin the market for the real thing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Trent Boggess on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 02:24 pm:

Actually, this has been done before by a father and son team in Ontario, Canada.

Several years ago I made a visit to these two craftsmen in conjunction with seeing their collection of NRS cars. While there they showed me around their various buildings, and in one I spotted what appeared to be a freshly re-machined water pump block. I examined the block carefully and noticed that there wasn't a serial number on it.

When I asked why, the two of them broke out in the biggest "cat ate the Tweedy Bird" smiles and said in unison, "We made it".

I was blown away by this, and it took two minutes for the full impact of this revelation to sink into my disbelieving brain. But it was true, and in still another out building they showed me a stack of un-machined water pump blocks. A little later I learned they also had a stack of un-machined open valve thermo-syphon blocks as well.

As it turns out, it is pretty easy to distinguish between an original water pump or open value blocks and the reproductions. Genuine blocks of this era always have a ruff-ness to the casting on the right side, extending 3/8" to 1/2" up from the frame rail of the block. The new reproduction casting do not have this ruff-ness in the casting just above the frame rail on the right side of the block. So, that is what I look for.

Respectfully Submitted,

Trent Boggess


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 02:44 pm:

OK so I will scrap this idea. Thank you all for the feedback


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 02:53 pm:

If it's not too late to give feedback, I encourage you to do it. I've seen few reproduction parts (especially of this complexity) that couldn't be told from an original.

Aside from that, the pros for those of us that drive our cars, is we'll see fewer original open valves lost to catastrophic failure while being used by people that want authentic early tour cars, and also fewer late 1911 - 1913 engines (which are now desirable in their own right) being faked into open valves.

If people want a faked open valve (e.g. dilute the market) or take the risk of running an original, it's going to happen whether people like it or not. At least this would discourage some of the scenarios I listed above.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Fischer - Arroyo Grande, CA on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 04:58 pm:

Les,

Count me as one who supports manufacture of reproduction parts. For several years I manufactured reproduction wheels for antique airplanes. It was very rewarding for me to have helped put more authentic restorations back into service. As a bonus, owners felt more secure in touring their machines knowing that replacement parts were available.

Having said that, I also think that some evidence should be incorporated to assure that people in the future know which parts are repros.

In my case, I incorporated a design improvement that was subtle, but fully visible from the outside. That way any prospective buyer could identify my repros as opposed to originals. The design improvement was such that anyone wanting to pass the wheels off as "originals" would do serious damage to the structural integrity of the parts.

Dick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 05:29 pm:

I sure would want one if they were being reproduced. I used to drive the wheels off my '10 until the original DB crank broke. Fortunately the block was not damaged but ever since that day I have been nervous about taking it out on long tours. I am actually thinking about putting in a later engine for touring but hate to do anything that would affect the cars originality. Having a reproduction open valve engine would permit me to keep the car correct while being able to tour without worrying about destroying the original power plant. I am more concerned about being able to use and enjoy my car than I am about the possible reduction in value because someone is trying to pass off a repro part as original.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 05:37 pm:

It would seem to me that these blocks would be superior castings in both dimension and metal quality. I would think that if a fellow had a crankshaft annihilate his original 1909 block he would be overjoyed to have access to a new one. I think all this fear of a reproduction block, especially one by Les Schubert is unfounded.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 06:45 pm:

I think it would be a good thing to have replacement open valve blocks available - if - they were easily discernable from an original.

Many people have been hoodwinked by fake ones. Some folks more than once!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 06:52 pm:

OK so here is another thought. Open valve BUT with 5 main bearings!! It would significantly reduce the pattern revisions. A "bullet proof" driver engine that looks right. Easily enough done as splash oiling or can be pressurized for the speed demon!!

Just to avoid any confusion, this would be done like the Tesla 3!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Martin on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 07:10 pm:

If a person can count either Three main bearings or Five main bearings, There is a good chance he would know which is the reproduction engine.
My son and I have been involved in the rebuild of a 1908 Renault AX motor, The original 2cyl block was rusted out into the cylinder area and a cylinder sleeve did not rectify the problem.
Two recast cylinder blocks made some thirty years ago by club member of the Veteran Car club of Australia were obtained. One has been machined and engine rebuilt, and is on its first rally in three years this week. The other block is in my workshop as a spare for my 1912 AX if it is ever needed. In Australia, our cars are drivers, You very rarely see a trailer Queen so reproductions of unrepairable parts are very desirable.
Drive safely.....Neil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 07:14 pm:

You guys can't regulate away the unscrupulous. This is almost like a gun control argument. If Les' design has some obnoxious feature they're just going to die grind it away or fill it and reshape it.... or say screw it and cut up another 1912 block.

I think what Les is offering is fantastic thing. Don't go discouraging creativity as was done in the patent wars of the last century.

(Message edited by WMH on April 07, 2016)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ed Archer Hayward, CA. on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 07:23 pm:

You guys that are worried about it devaluing your early Ts need to get your head screwed on straight. Or maybe I'm wrong. If you're concerned about your cars value then sell it! I think most of us are true hobbyists, love the car, want it to be authentic could care less about it's value.

Ed aka #4


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 07:36 pm:

Ed,you are absolutely right! I bought my cars to drive and anything that will keep them on the road as they were originally designed works for me!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Marc Roberts, York, Pennsylvania on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 08:02 pm:

Les:

My two cents: Please make them. You are in a unique position to do so. Make them as close to the original as you can. After all, isn't that what most of us try for in an entire car? There will always be an expert who can tell the difference. Twenty blocks isn't going to flood the market and kill anyone's investment, but it will let that many more cars be restored and enjoyed and maybe even be on the road for perhaps another 100 years. Your work could allow great numbers of people whose grandparents are not even born yet to appreciate what the earliest of the Model T's were like.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Fischer - Arroyo Grande, CA on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 08:16 pm:

One other argument in favor of proceeding with the early blocks, Les.

My experience with the wheels is that today there are more Fischer wheels out there than originals. And people openly point out that they have repros because they are stronger than originals. I've never heard of anybody trying to pass one of my wheels off as original. But there may be a few cases where people with originals have claimed that they were "Fischers"

Dick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan B on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 08:35 pm:

Why not put a casting mark or stamp in the crankcase wall where it can only be seen if you're checking whether it's an original or repro?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Strickling on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 09:39 pm:

So let me say again

"I hope they are marked somehow to indicate they are reproductions."

I didn't say don't make them, but 40 or 50 years from now it should still be obvious that they are reproductions. We all owe it to the history and preservation of these cars to be truthful. Fewer and fewer people will know the difference as time goes on.

If my open valve block was ruined tomorrow, I just might like the option of calling someone and ordering one, but I would never try to pass it off as original.

By all means,go for it, but do it in a way that preserves the integrity and value of the remaining originals.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James Baker on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 09:44 pm:

I wonder how many owners think they own an original open valve block, but really have reproductions?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John T. Tannehill III, Hot Coffee, MS on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 10:29 pm:

Les, count me on the positive side and a buyer on one if you move forward with the casting. Honestly I've been thinking of selling all my 10 stuff because of the price of a original block and the realization I'd never feel comfortable in really using the T model it would be in if I had one. I could begrudgingly be ok if something catastrophic happen with a reproduction at that price point you discussed but not so much if it was a real open valve.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob middleton on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 10:54 pm:

Ed Archer I couldn't agree more
Early car in museums are great but out being enjoyed
And shown multiplis this by 100


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Garnet on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:13 pm:

Nothing wrong with seeing Made In Calgary on them Les! One MUST have pride in one's work!

Garnet


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:29 pm:

Garnet
Well the castings would come from Surrey BC
This has been a interesting discussion. I should point out that I don't want one personally


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill in Adelaida Calif on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:33 pm:

Hmmm Open valve 5 main Rajo conversion. Now that would be a conversation starter!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:43 pm:

I think the expression is "whatever floats your boat "!!!

Does anyone have a sample block (or remains of a busted one) to loan?? It's nice to get most of the details right


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Garnet on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:59 pm:

I'll be heading to Surrey in 3-4 weeks to pick up Petrobond Les.

Garnet


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karl Gilchrist- New Zealand on Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 11:59 pm:

I have followed this thread with interest. While I like to my cars to look original I also like to drive them. I don't have an early open valve engine car but a 1913. If I had an early car with a busted engine I wouldn't put a later engine in it but a repro open valve block would be fine. The closer to original looking the better. A repro block is not a fake - A fake requires someone to misrepresent a repro.!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 12:31 am:

Oh, this could get SO out-of-hand! Not making good open valve blocks mind you, but me commenting on this thread. If I start typing, this could turn into one of the longest threads I have ever written (yikes!).

Always good to see your comments on here Ed A! As usual, something important said, short, and to the point. Unlike that guy I see in the mirror every day.

I read the early portions of this thread early on, and debated about commenting, but couldn't decide which side to argue for. Still can't.
The problem is, I do understand and to a great extent agree with, the fearful side of not wanting too much reproduction (or faked) stuff "out there".
The problem is, "it is THAT line that is not difficult to draw in the sand. It is impossible to draw." This much reproduction. That much modification. A very good friend of mine calls it "finger wiggle" after a magician's trick of wiggling a finger to pull the string to make you think you see something you didn't. It began a long time ago, and once begun, just where do you stop??? I dunno.
Blocks have been made for brass era Buicks, REOs, and even Locomobiles (not Ed's). I even knew the fellow that built a complete Ford model B engine for a collector that had an original car for which the original engine had been lost (and I ain't tellin' who's).

I do agree that any such new productions should have a few minor easy to spot details.

Les Shubert, I don't want to rain on your parade, but modifying the molds and patterns you have may not be quite as easy to do as you expect. I can usually spot a modified later block by the shape of the water jacket in relation to the cylinders. Not an easy change to make. I do think that you could easily make an excellent product that should be fine for a lot of people, with that little tell-tale difference.

I ran into something that I found VERY interesting a couple days ago while working on the engine for my "spring '15 runabout". The engine, one I picked up from an estate a few years ago, is a little bit newer than I wish it was, but it will do for now.

The engine is in exceptional condition over-all (read that as I don't have to spend much on it to make a nice engine out of it). But it is a late calendar year'15 engine cast in October '15 (qualifies for HCCA although about six months later than the car was).
While cleaning up the engine, I noticed that the INSIDE of the water jacket is clearly shaped for the earlier '13 style block. It appears that a modification to the earlier molds provided the sand molds used inside the water jacket to make the block in late '15. With the outside shaped like every model T from late '13 into '25, that is one thick casting in the back of the block.

Call Ripley! I kept it short, believe it or not!
Drive carefully, and enjoy! W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Memmelaar Jr on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 08:42 am:

I once had an idea of taking old blocks and putting them on my Horizontal machining center to machine out the " differences " between the non open valve blocks and open valve ones. I only need a engineering drawing of the block that's open valve and I can convert that into CNC code. The cost would be the cost of your block which you buy and whatever machining time it takes. Probably a few hours Max.

Thoughts?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 09:52 am:

John,

There are many more differences. You would need to "add" metal that doesn't exist on the later blocks. You could make a fake fair enough to fool many people who don't know what to look for.

There are people who are starting to get very good at this. I don't want to provide a tutorial on how they can fool me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 10:43 am:

John
I like your idea!!!

Royce
The objective in my opinion is to make "Driver Grade" engines. Ones people can go out and have FUN with!!

Wouldn't be that hard to attach the necessary metal to create the serial number location. Or alternatively, just mill a flat surface!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:08 am:

I'm going to take a really hard look at the block conversion idea. Obviously it has been done before. I realize I own a suitable rear axle and I know where I can buy a "Tourabout" new body. I have a steering column and windshield frame. Got a set of new wheels complete with front brake hubs. Got a set of RHD parts that I was going to add a starter to. Lots of guys have put starters on early "windup" cars, so that would explain the incorrect "hogshead" !!

Hey I'm only 66, lots of years left in me!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Eyre on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 03:23 pm:

That Patterns exist already. Sandy McTavish had them in Milverton Ontario. He left us last year and someone said that Wayland Henry had them last. Sandy had them for both water pump and non water pump blocks. The water jackets are a bit heavier in the repo blocks. My dad sand Sandy were good friends and he has I believe the last one that Sandy had machined to use. Very nice and would pass in a non show car or for the real deal with little effort.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Anthony Bennett on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 04:20 am:

I love your flexible transmission shaft Les, though I still haven't fitted mine.

What are your 5 bearing blocks worth?

Do you have some photographs... I probably can't afford one but I'd love to see what you've done.

Cheers

Anthony


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Martin on Sunday, April 17, 2016 - 10:54 pm:

Les.
Please put me down as a perspective buyer for an open valve block.
I have #4626! April 1911 with a damaged rear main webb. It would be interesting if the #2 and #4 bearing webbs could be modified so it could be removed so as to use a Scat crank, seeing that they are being manufactured as a standard item. A three bearing block would be quite ample for non speedster use and an ease and squeeze driver like me.
Take care-----Neil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett, Spalding United Kingdom on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 12:38 am:

I'll have one. The crank went on my original 09 some yrs ago, took out the rear main, had it metal stitched back together. The guy who did it said the metal was thin and poor quality compared with later blocks. I still tour the car but I am always a bit twitchy. Had a 26 in it for a while but got some snooty looks from the cognoscenti. A 5 main open valve would be amazing.

Has anyone reproduced the 6 rivet rear? That shredded itself back in the 80s.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 08:52 am:

I m investigating


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 09:35 am:

Jen
I have a nice pair of 6 rivet housings


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett, Spalding United Kingdom on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 12:34 pm:

Les I have sent you a PM. Out of the country right now where the internet is a bit unreliable.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 01:07 pm:

As long as there is 1 difference that a knowledgeable person could find I think they should be rolled out a dozen at the time.
Perhaps the more made,the more reasonable the price.
If you are after a trophy winning,tire boot wearing trailer queen that needs to get 100% of the points on the score card, then yes, you need to learn the difference of a repro block and look for the right stuff.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ward Sherwood on Monday, April 18, 2016 - 02:06 pm:

Les

If you, or anyone, casts new blocks, I would strongly recommend that they be made identical (indistinguishable) from original blocks - on exterior/visible surfaces. It is equally recommended that a maker's mark be cast into the block, perhaps up inside the crank housing. Thus, the block would be able to be identified from an original Ford block, and its value may even be enhanced by the proof that it is a newly manufactured quality item.

A new engine block such as this should be highly desired by the "blue ribbon" seekers as well as everyone else interested in acquiring a new/problem free block.

There are a couple of guys pursuing similar projects in the Model A community, and many are hoping to see something come available in the not-to-distant future.


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